Harvard | Mr. Public Finance
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Kellogg | Mr. Danish Raised, US Based
GMAT 710, GPA 10.6 out of 12
Harvard | Mr. Startup
GRE 327, GPA 3.35
Darden | Mr. Leading Petty Officer
GRE (MCAT) 501, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Ms. Almost Ballerina
GRE ..., GPA ...
Darden | Mr. Federal Consultant
GMAT 780, GPA 3.26
Stanford GSB | Mr. Rocket Scientist Lawyer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.65 Cumulative
Harvard | Mr. Polyglot
GMAT 740, GPA 3.65
Darden | Mr. Engineer Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.47
Stanford GSB | Mr. Navy Officer
GMAT 770, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Systems Change
GMAT 730, GPA 4
Tuck | Mr. Consulting To Tech
GMAT 750, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Ms. Ambitious Hippie
GRE 329, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. Milk Before Cereals
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3 (16/20 Portuguese scale)
Harvard | Mr. Sales To Consulting
GMAT 760, GPA 3.49
INSEAD | Ms. Hope & Goodwill
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
INSEAD | Mr. Airline Captain
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB to PM
GRE 338, GPA 4.0
IU Kelley | Ms. Biracial Single Mommy
, GPA 2.5/3.67 Grad
Darden | Ms. Unicorn Healthcare Tech
GMAT 730, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBA Class of 2023
GMAT 725, GPA 3.5
Chicago Booth | Mr. Guy From Taiwan
GRE 326, GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. Energy Reform
GMAT 700, GPA 3.14 of 4
Ross | Mr. Verbal Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Ross | Ms. Packaging Manager
GMAT 730, GPA 3.47
Wharton | Mr. Sr. Systems Engineer
GRE 1280, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Semiconductor Guy
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3

Handicapping Your Dream School Odds

He’s an Top Three Ivy League grad who has worked for a venture capital fund in Vietnam, a private equity shop in New York, and managed a softball team.

He started and finished his undergraduate degree two years early after being home schooled, became a CPA at a Big Four firm and has done English tutoring for immigrants.

What these and other MBA candidates want to know is whether they have a chance to get into a top business school. For the sixth consecutive week, we’re turning to Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of MBA admissions consulting firm HBSGuru.com, to analyze these and a few other profiles of actual MBA applicants who have shared their vital statistics with Poets&Quants.

As he has in the past, Kreisberg handicaps each potential applicant’s odds of getting in. If you include your own stats and characteristics in the comments (please add your age and be clear on the sequence of your jobs in relaying work experience), we’ll pick a half dozen or more and have Kreisberg assess your chances in a follow-up feature next week.

Sandy’s assessment:

Mr. Ivy League

  • 700 GMAT
  • 3.8 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree from a Harvard/Yale/Princeton Ivy in 2007
  • Worked in private equity in New York for two years and two-plus years for a venture capital fund in Vietnam run by HBS grads
  • Extracurriculars include playing a division one sport for four years, managing a softball team in a local international softball league, various alumni association work and random charity work

Odds of Success

Harvard Business School: 40% to 70%

Stanford: 30% to 55%

Wharton: 50% to 80%

Chicago: 60% to 90% (just convince Booth you want to come)

Sandy’s Analysis: Dunno, man (and I am assuming you are a man), this sounds pretty solid and interesting. Guys like you get into Harvard and Stanford depending on execution, recommendations, luck, and at HBS, not blowing the interview.

You are anchored by a 3.8 GPA and a D1 sport which they respect, especially if it was a team sport, viz. football, baseball, basketball, and their absolute favorite, crew. I don’t know why crew is such a fav, maybe it is because Adcoms are gals, and have gauzy mental pictures of hunks on the water, or maybe because the historical record of crew guys at HBS is pretty thick, although women’s crew also a plus and surprisingly the crew admits are often coxswains (low weight Asian gals with big mouths, or regular mouths which feel very comfy around a megaphone, which I believe the team provides).

The one soft spot is the GMAT, but they will blink at that, in light of high GPA, solid splits (81/89) and just an interesting story. Some issues would be, as always, what is the record of your employer sending kids to H/S/W and do those HBS grads running the Vietnam fund have any beyond-ordinary pull.

You will need to be very strategic about presenting your extra-currics because they seem wide rather than deep. That is okay, and it is often preferred. Kids with deep involvement in one thing often get overwhelmed trying to present it, while other kids, who ran one fundraiser, really dig deep and capture in granular detail the various ways they were effective, which oddly (and unfairly) often comes off better than the major player’s confusing essay. Just use some of those extras, especially recent ones, as accomplishments or setbacks, capture a team story, a couple of work stories, and some blah blah goal statement about how PE can transform Asia. Add some jive about how X business school can help you, and you could be a winner, especially at Harvard and Wharton.

Stanford gets a bunch of guys like you, and takes some, so a lot there will turn on being winning and Stanfordy in app and essays. What is Stanfordy? It is someone Derrick Bolton (director of admissions) takes a shine to, after you have passed the velvet rope of GPA/GMAT/employment test that gets you inside the club. Then Derrick has to like your personal story, attitude, and values.

Wharton might balk at the GMAT. They seem very touchy about that recently, but jeepers, their average is 718 and someone has to be below that. Why not you?

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.